Last Shot of Johnnie Walker (fiction word count: 150)
While in Australia, at the Billinudgel Bar, I realized my motive for traveling:
I was peak jumping.
Living for the highs.
If I did not have a trip on the queue, I didn’t know what to do.
Six-month chunks of time kept my emotions in line…
Hard workdays, long weeks, stressful sweeps…
All anchored by the next trip waiting.
This coping pattern emerged while sitting at the bar.
I looked around and saw a yogi in a pretzel knot – able to just “be.”
I eavesdropped a wedding party, downing brews, contented with little.
The owner, also the bartender, seemed so fulfilled to own this dive of a hotel.
With that last shot of Johnnie Walker, the emptiness I was escaping surfaced.
Traveling can be used to enrich or to escape.
Now, staycations have honed me – life’s valleys and side terrains offer much – enjoyment is not just from peaks.
This short fiction was created to join in with the writers at What Pegman Saw. Go HERE to join in and/or read more entries. This week, Pegman is in Billinudgel, New South Wales, Australia. Here is the streetview and photospheres.
Today’s piece was inspired by someone we knew in the 1990s who had a habit of peak jumping to cope with unsettledness in life. Nothing is wrong with traveling for enrichment – and hobbies provide refreshment too – but sometimes we need to make sure we are not overlooking a pattern of escaping – because if so – we only delay finding contentment that helps us anchor inner stuff. I know it is easier said than done – and this fiction piece might hopefully hint at the journey involved. Individual wellness does not follow any formula and maybe we grind out what we need over the years.
This short piece was also inspired by a few of the other entries from this week’s submissions. K. Rawson has done this a few times – incorporated other writers’ pieces into her Pegman entry – and so I borrowed her approach – well a little differently.
I had my character in the bar with the characters from the aforementioned three stories. (I tried to connect other Pegman entries this week but it was feeling forced.)
So…. the ironic part is that my character – the one who travels to escape and realizes this coping pattern with that last shot of Johnnie Walker.… well they see a yogi and “assume” he was contented – and just meditating – but Wickland has the yogi in a knot because he hit on an athletic spy who was having none of that. My character also eavesdrops a bit on Lisa Rey’s wedding party – but my character missed the angst there – and once again assumed happiness. Further, the bartender is seen as “living the life” (by my character) while Dale had this character as a possible fugitive.
Ahhhh…. how often we humans look at others and assume they “have it so good.” Well sometimes folks are flaw-finders and they look out with knit-picking and operate from brokenness and insecurity. But time and again, I see folks who look outward and make assumptions about how others have it so well. It is not always the case.
Everyone has stuff they are working on. Don’t they?
So in my story, I wanted to highlight the journey of self-awareness about coping patterns – and then note how sometimes people might assume everyone is living it up with bliss. When this is not always true.
And lastly, maybe this post was inspired by this vintage Johnnie Walker cork screw I saw while visiting my sweet step-daughter:
I liked this sign too: